Cutting the Cost of Getting Started

Over the past couple of days, I’ve highlighted the importance of personal growth.

Many of you are planning to start, or are just beginning, a rewarding freelance career that will change you in new and exciting ways. I even wrote about this excitement in an article I just finished.

Are you ready?

I hope so. I’ve been freelancing for three months. It’s been full of ups and downs, but I’ve never had such a sense of freedom. I can say, without a doubt, I’ve never been so excited by a step in my career.

I see the same excitement in my daughter’s eyes. She knows that in a couple of weeks, she’ll start becoming something bigger and better at kindergarten.

Of course, she’s oblivious to the expense. She needs new clothes. School supplies. Shoes. Even technology.

She’ll be using both iPads and PCs at school, with basic learning software provided by the school. Fortunately, we already had the hardware she needed because we invest in new technology every year or so. But beyond the technology costs, getting her ready cost hundreds of dollars at a time where controlling cash flow is really important because I’ve only been a freelancer for a few months.

When you kick off your career transition, you’ll probably have to buy new tools for your new career. And that cost can deflect your pursuit of the freelance life. You can’t afford to be oblivious to cost like my kid is.

So I’ve been researching some ways to set up as a freelancer while saving money. Are you looking for lower-cost ways to kick off your transition? Try these.

  • Google Docs™ – this basic online software has what it takes to write and edit copy, track income and expenses, and collaborate with colleagues and clients. Combined with Gmail and Google Voice, you can manage your email and make phone calls – all for free.
  • Small business discounts – since you’re starting a small business, look for discounts and bundles – Microsoft offers a range of these.
  • Computer – most vendors have sites for factory-refurbished products that carry a full warranty. This includes: Apple, Dell, and HP.
  • Printer – I rarely print as a freelancer but often scan and copy, so I recommend a multi-function (MFP) printer that does all three. Many have fax capabilities as well. Arguably, Canon makes the best, and they have a refurbished product site as well.
  • Office furniture – my wife and I outfitted our home office with two desks, two chairs, two filing cabinets, and a bookshelf for just under $800 by visiting IKEA. They have a small business site with discounts and benefits.

I’m sure there are other great ideas for saving money in the AWAI community. Please leave your good ideas in comments for everyone to use!

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Published: August 8, 2012

2 Responses to “Cutting the Cost of Getting Started”

  1. The public library is your greatest resource! Reference materials. Books on copywriting (e.g. Bob Bly!). Free internet. Meeting space in a central location to meet with clients, prospects. Some libraries have people do free talks: share your expertise with the community, maybe get a client or referral from it. Study carrels: your instant office if you haul in your laptop. Or free (albeit limited) computer use, scanner use. Cheap printing (some allow up to 10 pages free!). Copying is cheaper at Staples, but the library can be very convenient. Save most of Brian's investment: set up office in your library until you have enough income to spend $800 and still eat.


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